K2 Legal Support: Tom Kendrick and Sam Kendrick
A specialist copy shop was the route to success for two brothers. Find out how.
Going into business with a sibling may not be everyone’s chosen path to entrepreneurial success. But Tom and Sam Kendrick, brothers from Bristol, set up K2 Legal Support in October 2005, and are now managing the enviably rapid growth of their flourishing company.
K2 started as a specialist copy shop for the legal profession and gained the trust and custom of Bristol’s law firms so quickly it was soon able to open a second branch in Birmingham.
The brothers, one of whom had previously worked in a legal print room, recognised a need for a copying and printing business geared to handle the complex work that lawyers generate.
Once they’d spotted their gap, they didn’t hang around – ten weeks later the brothers signed a lease on the first branch. In this time they thoroughly researched their market, grew confident in their business model, and chose their location.
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“We had to start from scratch with everything,” says Tom, “from buying the machines to signing the lease. Meanwhile Sam was phoning every solicitor, gathering their names, so that the day before we started trading everybody got a letter, and he could follow it up personally.”
Initial funding came from the selling of Tom’s previous business, but within three weeks of trading K2 broke even. It’s a success they put down to providing a personal touch. Every customer, Tom stresses, received a tailor-made approach from day one.
The business also prides itself on three specific unique selling points: speed, accuracy, and confidentiality. To reinforce the latter, all staff must sign a confidentiality agreement.
The first year of trading saw a turnover of £380,000 and the brothers named as finalists for the Shell Livewire Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.
“The awards were enormously beneficial. All of our customers saw it. And when we decided to launch K2 Birmingham, it suddenly gave us a bit of kudos.”
The Birmingham branch therefore got off to a flying start, breaking even after eight weeks. “Ultimately it will be bigger than Bristol,” Tom predicts.
However, with expansion come staff problems. “Finding people who are genuinely capable of managing has been unbelievably difficult.”
This will become a more pressing problem as more branches are launched. However, the company is focused on retaining employees and hopes to place current staff in all the cities it moves to.
The five-year plan is to open branches in five cities, something they predict they’ll achieve without any fresh investment.
With this kind of confidence, it’s no surprise that Tom doesn’t have any regrets about going into business with his brother. “I have absolutely no regrets,” he says. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”